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Chalker’s Bella Woods wins Trumbull County Invitational, Niles girls take 1st

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Chalker’s Bella Woods (right) and Warren G Harding’s Anthony Payiavlas pose after winning the Trumbull County Golf Invitational at Trumbull County Country Club on Monday.

WARREN — While golfing in varsity competition, Chalker’s Bella Woods typically hits off the boys tees.

The junior, who competes as a member of Chalker’s boys team during the season, moved to the girls tees Monday for the 2021 Trumbull County Golf Invitational at Trumbull County Country Club. While it was a bit of an adjustment, Woods was the top girls’ performer, shooting an 88 and walking off with the gold.

“It’s pretty nice,” Woods said. “I know there were some teams that were missing that would have been good competitors, but I really like it.”

Even though she was the girls’ medalist, Woods still wasn’t satisfied.

“I had a tough time out in the course,” she said. “I really didn’t think I played my best, but I had some pretty good shots. My putting was a little rough, but I toughed through it. I started having a little trouble with my driver, but I made up with my five wood, so I did all right.”

Playing off the girls (red) tees Monday was a bit of an adjustment for Woods, but as tournament time approaches, she was glad for the preparation.

“It was pretty great to play off the reds today because I never get to, but I didn’t play my best off the reds as I would off the whites,” Woods said. “It could have been like a tournament experience. I was a little nervous but I did all right. Sometimes, it’s a big difference. It could be like only 50 yards to nearly 100 but, it’s a big difference especially teeing off.”

Harding’s Anthony Payiavlas was the boys medalist, shooting a 70 on the afternoon.

I thought it went really well,” Payiavlas said. “I came in trying to get my score pretty low. I was trying to go under (par). I felt good off the front nine, I was two-under on the front, I figured I had a decent lead, so on the back I was trying to get fairways and greens. I feel really good. I want to thank my coach (Brent Ulicny) and my school for all their support. It feels really good.”

As for the team results, the Howland boys won the competition with a 351. They were tied with Badger at 351, but the Tigers’ fifth golfer’s score was lower, breaking the tie.

Ethan Huly shot Howland’s lowest score, finishing second overall for the boys with an 81. Jacob Gazdik shot an 87 and Cliff Phillips rounded out the sub-90 scores with an 89.

On the girls side, the Niles Red Dragons took the top spot. Ryssa Coudriet had the third-lowest score overall with a 108. Kennedy’s Samantha Calderone took the silver, shooting a 92.

Both Trumbull County champions are getting prepared for the next stage of the game as the postseason is rapidly approaching. For both, it’s about getting out as much as possible.

Payiavlas wants to get to Windmill Lakes in Ravenna, where this year’s sectional tournament will be held.

“I’m just trying to play a lot of golf,” Payiavlas said. “I’m trying to go to the range almost every day to work on my short game, irons and I’m going to try to get some practice in at the sectional course.”

Woods, who reached regionals last year, is hoping for the chance to reach state this year. The junior is hitting the links as often as possible in preparation for the postseason. Woods begins her postseason run as a part of the Division II sectionals which starts Sept. 27.

“I’m continuing to play golf pretty much every day,” Woods said. “I really love to do it, and playing 18 (holes) really helps my experience.”

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